Exploring periodontitis misclassification mechanisms under partial-mouth protocols

Talal Alshihayb, Praveen Sharma, Thomas Dietrich, Brenda Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate the sources of periodontitis misclassification under partial-mouth protocols (PMPs) and to explore possible approaches to enhancing protocol validity.

Materials and Methods
Using data from 10,680 adults with 244,999 teeth from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we compared tooth-, site-, and quadrant-specific periodontal parameters and case identification under full-mouth protocols and PMPs. Separately, we utilized population measures of tooth-specific periodontal severity to generate PMPs with tooth selection based on the population ranking of clinical severity and assessed the sensitivity of case identification.

Symmetry of clinical severity was generally confirmed, with the exception of lingual inter-proximal sites, which yielded greater sensitivity in identifying periodontitis compared to buccal sites due to more severe pocketing and attachment loss on average. Misclassification of severe periodontitis occurred more frequently under commonly implemented PMPs compared to ranking-based selection of teeth, which yielded sensitivity estimates of 70.1%–79.4% with the selection of 8 teeth and reached 90% with the selection of only 14 teeth.

Clinical symmetry and sources of periodontitis misclassification were confirmed. The proposed selection of teeth based on population rankings of clinical severity yielded optimal sensitivity estimates for the detection of severe periodontitis and may present a favourable alternative to current options.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Early online date4 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2022


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